SOL17 DoodleaDay 30 Tools and Spaces

doodleaday_30_tools_spaces.sre

Doodling is writing in images. The flow for each is similar: idea-draft-share-elaborate-revise-share-enhance-edit-publish. And publishing can be private, shared with a few, public on websites, social media, blogs, journals, etc.

For me, and again like writing, I prefer the digital. The ability to cut/paste/re-order/undo/redo just makes the process of thinking through the challenge to create the best message is just such a gift. This is especially important with art– because I’m not an artist. I’d be crunching up paper and eventually be buried in snowballs of wrecked work. I’d be frustrated and quit. But with the digital, I try over and over and feel like I can improve and understand better what each stroke, brush, line does to bring out the image. It’s fun.

I think that’s important to understand for students in writing class: why drearily write by hand when the words are so easily created, ordered, deleted, enhanced with the tools available in digital format? Handwriting? That’s now art! Make it fun, on paper or digital.

The #Sketch50 theme this week is Communication, and today’s topic is page/book/device. Notice what changed from the #doodleaday of “Tools and Spaces:

sketch50_page.book.device.sre

First of all, you can see that I just needed to copy the #doodleaday to my Sketch50 journal in Paper53. To make the icons I just searched Google [icon Blogger, for example]. Then I could zoom in and create an image pretty close to the icon of  the app that I use for communication of ideas.

Sharing Google Docs, in blogs, on Twitter, in Evernote, through presentations [Keynote or Slides]– those are ways for me to curate ideas and collaborate.

And the information is from my experiences, my books [Kindle], news apps, research in Google Search.

I do have a journal, which I hardly use, and Staedtler fine point pens, for the occasional sketching I do for a quick idea– rare. I also do a little ZenTangle art, but mostly in my Paper53 and Autodesk Sketchbook apps. My pens last a long time.

But whatever writing I do — text or image – I just think, get an idea, and then dive in, digitally.

I visited school yesterday. Actually, I was the substitute Principal. It was a wonderful experience– I could see the flow of the day, and found smiles on student faces, which means the school is doing well for kids. I wrote on paper [!] a log of what I did. I wrote “Tootles”– oodles of them in each classroom I visited. Tootles are acknowledgements of students who are models of goodness: Good thinking, good questions, good answers, good effort, good attitude– each is written specifically for and given to one child. I was able to hear good questions, acknowledge a change in attitude, a willingness to listen again and correct mistakes, etc. It was awesome.

I was also reminded of the challenge in writing — the biggest challenge– the start. That first word or image. That blank paper or screen. In my experience, the best way to overcome that obstacle is three-fold:

  1. Model examples [if needed, non-examples as well]
  2. Model and try with students; Share and find the positive.
  3. Conversation: discuss the trials and encourage discussion of what the examples suggest– what else could have been tried or done or reworded?

I found that modeling, guiding a reworking or new ideas, and then having conversations with students, and students with each other, gets them thinking about their own ideas and experiences. Soon, one by one, each student is able to start.

If you are new to teaching writing, I’ve always recommended these:

Ralph Fletcher Books

Lessons for the Writers Notebook and Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi by Heinemann

In the Middle by Nancie Atwell

Vicki Spandel Six Traits

Six Trait Writing by Northwest Labs

Teaching that Makes Sense by Steve Peha

If you are a writer, what is your flow? Are you digital or paper?

If you are a teacher, what strategies do you suggest for helping students start?

If you are a teacher, what resources do you recommend?

We all need tools and spaces, and once we help each other consider the possibilities– starting  is not an issue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Poem for Three Writing Voices: On Starting

Stuck.

Blank.

[Sigh]

“What?”

“Nothing – You?”

“Look – whale’s tales”

“Whales tales?”

“I couldn’t draw

the whole whale.”

“Me too.

I drew my dog

in the  wheat field.

Just the head.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah!”

“That works!”

“Yeah, that works.”

“Oh.”

“I know.”

“What?”

“What?”

“It’s a square.”

“It’s my cat in a box.”

“Now I can write.”

“Yeah–we looked

for that cat

for an hour!”

“I know.”

“How to Find a Cat”

“That works!”

“That does work.”

“Shhhh.”

“I’m writing.”

 

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Doodling Song

I was going to listen to “We’ve Got the Whole World In Our Hands,” but then I stumbled on the same song, remixed for Earth Day: Official Music Video for one of DARIA’s Earth Day CD songs: We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands.

It’s got some great images — I imagine a class set of doodles / sketches could be used to create a similar version.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Tools and Spaces

Part of Sketch50: page/book/device

 

A response to Digital Writing

digitalwritingdogtraxmarg

Digital Writing

My friend Kevin Hodgson [@dogtrax] considers the definition of digital writing on his blog, Kevin’s Meandering Mind. He thoughtfully considers “writing,” “composing,” and “digital writing.” I agree with all his assertions, except one.

I consider blogging to be digital writing. The blog post could be the central focus of a presentation, linking to images, resources, and videos that extend and enhance the author’s message. It requires much more thought and creation than simply writing an essay; the images and links chosen must be thoughtfully considered as part of the design to explain, argue, and present ideas. And as Kevin’s post does, it asks readers to interact with those thoughts by adding their own considerations. The record is displayed in post and comment, available always for further analysis. A blog also shows our thinking — and how our ideas change as we consider the ideas presented by the information we gather in our quest for understanding the world’s ideas.

I’ve been thinking, too, about “What is digital writing?” I’m still deciding, but a few thoughts I shared with Kevin [I added a little here] so far are:

  • When I record assignment directions, I have often stopped myself when the directions are to “write” when I really mean “type” or better yet “compose.” Even here, instead of “write,” in this bullet, I chose “record.” Because the digital assignment directions are recorded in a document for reference. I think of digital writing as something that is both composed and curated or recorded.
  • I’ve also used the word “compose” with students. Looking at the dictionary definitions of compose and write, a crossover exists in their use, but compose includes the words create, invent, produce, orchestrate. I find that more inclusive to my definition of digital writing. I want my students not to regurgitate information, but to produce artifacts that explain or argue their analysis of their learning, using words, images, videos, surveys, interactive media, etc.
  • Margaret Simon [@MargaretGSimon ]mentioned “audience” in her comment on Kevin’s blog. She said, “I must be aware of audience in the digital world. Perhaps it’s that immediate audience that makes it digital.”  The focus on the audience is critical. The writing will be shared for an audience one has considered carefully so that the writing clearly promotes the message; digital writing provides authenticity and meaning to topic, audience, and purpose, the meaning behind the writing.
  • Design is a word I use most often with my students: I want students to consider the reader, the information, the student’s purpose and message, and the presentation — how will they best explain and argue their ideas using text, image, video, interactive media, etc.? It is the digital that allows all of us to design the presentation of our discoveries so others understand how we make sense of the world of information around us, and how we invite others into our journey of understanding.

Digital writing allows students — all of us — the opportunity to present our understanding of the world. Writing is all about clarifying our thoughts, making the learning visible. Digital writing includes tools to make this easier: immediate definitions and searches, curation of resources, surveys to gather information, documents on which we can collaborate with others, grammar corrections, hyperlinks to our resources, sharing options [slides, blogs, videos, annotations], communication with experts through texts and webcams, archiving all our digital gathering of resources.

So, considering those tools as part of our quest for knowledge, is digital writing then a system, a  process, and a product available in many personalized forms as needed by and designed by the author?

The focus for my Language Arts classes are these essential questions:

  • How do researchers investigate successfully?
  • What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
  • How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
  • How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
  • Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language ?

It is the availability of digital tools that allow us to consider our ever-growing understanding of these questions.

Digital writing is a personal, systematic organization of tools and strategies that allow for an enhanced  and enriched process of study, curation,  and analysis, often in collaboration with others, to design a multi-faceted publication of the author’s ( or authors’) ideas for a chosen topic and audience, be that audience oneself, a group, or the public.

I’m still thinking about this… and thank you, Kevin,  for always presenting the questions that focus and clarify our work as learners.

#DigiWriMo Choice and Voice

What Counts

ThingLink

What counts?  My friends keep me grounded and growing, reaching out in ways that encourage collaboration, connections, and community. DigiWriMo, Digital Writing Month, is one such way.

The ThingLink image above is my “real résumé, the parts of my life that count, that help me grow to help better the world — wherever I am.

Maha Bali, Sarah Honeychurch and Kevin Hodgson are three of the founders who draw educators and others together in Digital Writing that inspires us and our connections, be they peers, students, friends, or family. They draw us in to reflect on what writing is today: a building of community by communicating in various media to connect and / or collaborate to learn together and to enjoy the process and the writing by growing relationships that extend around the world. It’s awesome.

I really don’t know how they do everything they do  because I can’t keep up, but I love that the invitation is always there, the connection is a bond of caring towards people I’ve never met in person, but truly consider them the dearest of friends with fond memories of struggle and joy. Most of this is from the communities we share: blogs, Twitter, CLmooc, ETmooc. I’ve not been a part of DS group, but certainly feel its presence.

And the common thread is writing. Writing in text, multimedia, video, infographics, comics, and music. Yes, those are writing — the bringing forth from thought into a clear message. That process of planning, drafting, revising of media is writing in the digital age. It’s authentic writing, writing that spreads joy and care, information and opinion, narrative and humor; the things, the thoughts that make us human and bring us closer together. Oh, how I want my students to enjoy that with their writing.

So that’s why my students in November have two choices: NaNoWriMo and DigiWriMo, which I am transforming for Middle School. Why? Because that choice IS what counts: we do best what we choose to do. I’ve written about choice, voice, and flow in writing at DigitalIs: Let Them Write!

That flow, that voice, that freedom to choice the story and characters, the setting and the plot is what really counts, and is what will be remembered. And DigiWriMo provides that same inspiration of choice to express our voice.

Let them choose. Let them write. Let them be real. So students too can better their world with their voices.

Are you ready to hear them?